A week or so in photos

Hey, I know I’ve not written in a while, but I’ve been so busy. I’ve no idea where the time is going! Today I was busy writing my first essay for my MA, its hard and though I’ve like got everything I need, the physical part of writing it has been my battle. I don’t get how I can write the first chapter of a novel in the space of maybe two hours or so, yet I can’t do a 2,000 word essay within 24 hours! So annoying. Anyway I only have 500 words left to do now and that is my task for tomorrow. So what else have I been up too? Well, I’ve a whole stack of photos to put up so let’s start there in the latest order:

Awesome ice cream, which I’ve been eating. Good job I got like 3 tubs of the stuff and no else in my family likes it!

I know its a bit blurry, but this squriall was in garden taking the nuts and then burying them in the lawn!

On Saturday, I went to my friend’s gig -she’s the lead singer- her band is called My Awakening and they were really good. They played my second fav style of music indie/punk kind and I got to hang around with her band afterwards too. They were playing in a bar called The Head of Steam, which is connected to Liverpool’s Lime Street train station. They play at lots of other venues in Liverpool too, so check them out on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Awakening/150546721651572?ref=ts&sk=wall

Then on Thursday, I went to Manchester for the first day of the Xmas market. It was pretty good and I’m hoping to go back soon and take some more photos.

I got some new boots too! They are a size too small though, but they were just so nice I couldn’t send them back.

Then lastly, I’ve been getting into the xmas spirit. I tried out the new gingerbread latte at my uni’s Starbucks. I’ve to say though there was too much ginger dusting in there for me!

And Krispy Kreams are also on the case!

There was a xmas tree too, but I got to eat the snowman!

That’s basically what I’ve been up too since last time I wrote. I’m currently reading Margaret Atwood’s Negotiating With The Dead, A Writer on Writing. It’s an interesting book and it’s different from most of the other books I’ve read about writing. It does seem to be a bout how to write and publish though, its more of an insight into life as a writer. I am liking it, though some of the theories are going over my head. I finished Lady Oracle two days ago and surprised myself because I really liked it. I read it fast too, because I got that in to it hopefully that’ll help if I’ve to write an essay on it! I’ve got no idea what I’ll be reading next – I’ll keep you updated though!

I’ve also decided to stick with writing my latest novel, which started as a short story, but then appeared to be better suited to a novel format. It was workshopped yesterday and people liked it, so for now I’m going to carry on writing and see what happens. I redrafted a short story too last night, though it still doesn’t feel write. It’s difficult to swap between the different forms sometimes. People think you can write everything and that’s not true. Once you find a format that suits you, you tend to stick to it. Though you might experiment with other forms, you’ll mostly always go back to the most suitable.

So for the next few days, I’ll be doing writing and reading, but I’ll also be exploring the attic. The electrics have gone up stairs and the only way to get us out of the ‘dark ages’ is to go into the attic and fix the wires. So that’ll be fun, as well as cleaning my room…..

Fleeting Time!

Hi, I’ve got no pics today (Beside from the poppy ones. see below) I’ve not been out and about with my camera recently. I’ve been busy reading and writing. Well, I think I’ve been. Time is just going so fast I’m losing it. I don’t know what I’m doing half the time! I’ve not been well lately and all the traveling to uni is catching up with me.

So what I’ve been doing this last week then? Well, I finished Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite and started reading The First Five pages by Noah Lukeman, which is a non-fiction book about publishing stuff and actually getting out of the slush pile the rubbish pile where all the unknown writers go. It is a good book and I’m finding it useful. I actually just submitting a short story thanks to it. I got a first on the story two years ago, but I decided to make it a bit longer for the submission. So I’ve been doing that today. Of course I’ll let you know what happens as soon as I do!

I worked at the charity shop Saturday afternoon and Friday too. I do really like it there and meeting new people, but I’m getting bored. I need to be more challenged then I am being. I need to do more stuff and it seems there’s not a lot left to learn now. So I don’t know how much longer I’m going to stay there. The problem will be though, where will I go instead? I like getting out of the house and doing something, and that fits in well. There are other charity shops, but I’d be doing the same stuff as now. So maybe, I should look around and see what else is out there?

Something I do look into was starting a Creative Writing group at my local community centre. I am not so sure though, because I’ve not really ‘taught’ before and I could be trying to teach anyone! I guess this would be a great place to start though. It’s free and I don’t need to prove anything, so yeah, it might be good to just get over my fear and take the leap. Scary for me because it’s not in my nature to be like that. I love my comfit zone!

So there was that and I’ve been writing my novel. Though I need to switch and look at one I’m actually going to submit for uni work now. I must get writing that soon. I’m really liking it though. I get to be a full-time writer and I should be just writing and reading all the time. I know I’m not at the minute, I think I’m still struggling to realize that I can do such a thing! But yeah, hopefully I’ll now get into that. Got two essays to write!

I watched some movies, there was secondhand lions, Armageddon, Ice Age 3 -which was tonight- and I watch Wingless Bird too. I caught up with Misfits and that’s really good and funny. I’ve been trying to watch The Fades too, but they’re not online yet. I’m trying not to watch random TV, but its too big a draw!

So that’s the past and present, what about the future? Well, I’m off to Liverpool for a catch up with my friend before going to uni. I need to email some writers about their websites for my project too. My essay on Tuesday and then Wednesday, I’ve my support session and uni again. Then It’s thursday and I’ve the day to spend reading and writing. Then Friday and I’m back to uni to spend the night with my other friend so that on Saturday I can be up at 8am for the start of an Open Day. After that I’m not sure as the plans are still being made. But yeah, It’s a packed week already!

Oh, the news has just reminded me what I was going to say! It’s remembrance Day today. I watched the parade in London this morning. I think it’s really good that we still have an offical day to remember everyone who’d been killed in action. It’s important to remember all those other people took part too because they helped just as much. My grandparents where in the war. My nana helped make bullets and my granddad was a desert rat. I wish I’d had more time to talk to them about their experiences. The two world wars have always fascinated me. I’m not sure why, they just sort of do…..So I got a poppy to show my support.

And I think that’s it. Been a very musing post that has, but hey that’s what this blog is all about!

Woodland Adventure

This is a follow on from my last post really. Today I went to the woods and took some more photos of the tree art. So this is my dog Patch, making herself a part of the art work. I know it’s not a right good photo, but the problem with Patch is that unless she’s asleep, she’s too wiggly to capture in a pose photo. Sindy can just about do it, but these two are so full of energy that getting them to do anything for even a few minutes is almost impossible!

I decided to check out the other side of the tree trunk, since I didn’t see it last time. It’s actually pretty good. This elephant is pretty awesome. I love how the trunk is made out of a root!

Then there’s this one. I know the photo is a bit blurry! But still, this is great for fans of mushrooms and Mario!

So the tree trunk is still brighting up what is now becoming a dull place. I still like going to the woods though. Watching Patch and Sindy chase each other through the undergrowth and trees just makes me smile. They always seem to be so happy. Being around nature helps to clear my head too. I’ve not been so good lately. I had some bad news and I’ve been a bit spaced out, I guess you would call it. I seem to have lost my focus on everything and though I’ve not been questioning myself, I’ve been wondering far too deeply about things.

Writing helps. It feels like a safety net or a close friend sometimes. I know there are places in my head that I can go to, ideas and daydreams that I can bring to life and make myself apart of. And if I don’t want to do that, there is always my current novel to be writing. This one I’ve got open right now, is actually one that I’ve been writing on and off for a while now. I don’t want to say its bad writing, but its a novel that I started with no real intension to finish. I had this one idea two vampires on a train and that was all. So, I started writing it and now I’ve a 100 pages of this strange novel. I know it’s not right good, but it has become more a space into which I can disappear for a while.

A few of my regular readers might have heard about it before. The novel is written in a post-modern, apocolptic, ScFi style. A lot of stuff and a lot of characters in different situations is happening all the time. These characters are connected, how that is though and how they come to the knowledge of it is part of the story. When I first started writing it though, I set myself some rules. Normally, you just write and let whatever it is out. I wanted to different this time, so I created a novel in which the writer-me! and the readers are separated from the book. It is never clear what is actually going on and non of the characters can be trusted. So yeah, what happens because of this is that the reader has to work hard and figure stuff out all the time. I don’t keep notes or make plotlines. I just let the characters tell me the story when I came to write it next. That though, means I’ve to re-read the novel all the time! It’s good though, because it gets me thinking too and it’s useful to remember where all my characters were up too. So that’s my current novel.

And someone just poked me on Facebook and now I’ve lost my train of thought….It’s gone….Anyway, think I’ve mused enough. It’s time to see how much more I can write. 🙂

Art In The Woods

For the first time in good few weeks I decided to take my dogs to the local woods. Through out the summer I had been visiting everyday and walking the paths I knew well from childhood. Then with starting uni again and the bad weather, I put off going and instead stuck to the less muddy fields at the back of my house. I’m still not sure why I went to the woods today, but sometimes I just have this need to be close to nature and have a change of scene. Even places you know so well are changing all the time and the woods are a good example of this. I think also I needed to clear my head -these days of very little daylight are already starting to get to me! I seem to be sleeping a lot more and it’s not doing me any good, but then the soft warmth of a bed is a hard thing to pull away from in the cold, dark mornings!

So, in the woods I took one of my normal circle routes for what I call a short walk it’s still an hour though. Listening to shuffled heavy metal songs, I followed the River Irk on a wet footpath. The river was a fast current today, but it had not burst its banks, making a change from one of the last times I visited the woods. The lower footpaths were flooded that time and the river a constant danger as it rushed past in a torrent. It was very muddy though and the right kind of footwear which I don’t own was so needed. I just about made it without falling over, but I shall wear some boots next time and not my trainers!

Then when I came onto the last stretch of my walk I saw something in the distance. It looks like one of those white plastic arch pop up things farmers use to protect their crops. I wondered what it was doing over a large tree root and decided that the woods rangers must be doing some kind of work. As I got closer I saw this;

There was also a sign, asking people to respect the painted tree stump and to find out more by going to a guy- the artist’s facebook page. I took the photo and went for a closer look. By chance, a couple with two very large dogs crossed the pathway and my dogs took an unliking to this sudden invasions of their space. Sindy went into ‘Mistress Protection Mode,’ and didn’t stop barking till the other dogs had gone out of sight. Patch decided she would submit to the large dogs and rolled about in the mud. That’s not a good idea when you are a small, short haired, white dog!

A van pulled up as the couple were leaving and straight away I knew that whoever was in the van had come to check on the tree stump. It’s just one of those knowing feels we all get. Anyway there was nothing I could do, so I stared at the stump so more and this guy came over. He was actually very pleased that I had taken in interested and photos of his project. He had of course got all the right permission to paint there and it was part of his college course he said. The conversation we had was interesting and I liked how he had drawn people’s’ suggests onto the stump. He said that someone had wanted people jogging on there, someone else had suggested mushrooms and a little girl had wanted her fingerprints there too. The people walking their dogs matches what I use the woods for.

To undertake such a project at this time of year was proving testing and he said the weather had been worrying him. The paintings had coped well though! I think it does add a touch of colour to the woods at a time when most of the colours are starting to fade. The the fact too that its aimed at people who use the woods as well is really good. It sort of brings the dead tree stump back to life too. I think I’ll be checking it out again next time I take a walk in the woods!

Monthly recommendations

This is something new I’ve decided to try for my new blog. I plan to try and give out some recommendations of stuff to listen to, read, visit, cook ect on the first day of the new month. I’m not sure if this is going to work, but I think it might be useful. Of course most of the recommendations are coming from my current activities so let’s see what’s on the list today!

Book:

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This is the book I am currently reading. Up to chapter 6 now. This is only the second book I’ve read by Brite. I love her writing style though and how she makes the simple so extreme. I went for this book as my next choice because it’s about vampires. So if you- like me-have had enough of the fairy, flimsy world of Twilight and need to get back to some real vampires doing what a vampire should do best frankly, then check out Lost Souls.

Music:

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Currently being repeated on my ipod is this! My friend got me into All Time Low – an indie band. I’m much more into my heavy metal, but having to hear indie music for the first half of this year, my interest in this kind of music is growing. This is ATL latest album, but their other one Nothing Personal is also worth checking out if you are into this kind of music.

Place to visit:

Manchester Art Galley – see my post below.

Cooking:

Parsnip and Honey Soup

I tried this soup out yesterday and its a perfect thing to eat whilst the cold dark nights take over. The ingredients to serve 4 people are;

1 large potato

4 parsnips

1 large onion

1 garlic

2 pints vegetable stock

1 tablespoon honey

1 carton cream

salt and pepper

Recipe;

Place the peeled and cubed potato and parsnips in with the chopped garlic and onion in a large pan over a medium heat with some olive oil. Cook for a few minutes

Add stock and let simmer for  30 minutes and then put in a blender and blend until smooth.

Return to the pan. Add the honey, cream and seasoning, stirring well and then simmer for a further 20 mins.

Then eat because its so awesome!

And that’s it for now. 🙂

Love On The Internet

I think the internet is now a fact of life. It seems very difficult to escape from it completely. Yeah, there are still places out there that struggle with getting a connection, but how long till that’s fixed and you could get online anywhere? I can still actually remember the first time I went online, It was about 1999, seems so far away that now! I was at highschool, my first year and someone in my tutor group introduced me to the World Wide Web. Of course it looked slightly different back then and I can’t recall the first websites I wondered my mouse over, but I think I was hooked straight away!

You have to admit though that everything is pretty much happening on the internet. There’s just so much you can access without leaving your house and so much knowledge not all of it true or good though-out there. Movies, music and books are much more accessible too now and with everyone running around with mobiles, Kindles, Ipad and Ipods etc, there is no escaping the draw of technology and the internet. I am also finding that social networking sites seem to be slowly taking over.

For the last few months I have been saying that joining Facebook was one of the worst things I’ve done during my time at university. The reason why I joined was to keep in connect with people I meet at uni, especially the American friends I made. It just hasn’t worked out like that though. I hardly speak to anyone on FB now, I find that texting is faster and as for updating my statue? Does the whole world really want to know what I’ve been doing? Same issue I’ve got on Twitter-everyone seems to be on there too now! It is nice to see what people have been up to though and I do enjoy showing my photos off, beside from that though, the whole social networking is slowly loosing me.

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One thing that I have been keeping up with is my online dating site. I’ve been on there a few months now and its my first ever time at trying to meet guys online. I’m too much of a traditionalist though and for me actually finding love online just seems too far away from the fantasy I’ve in my head. Saying that though I’ve been enjoying it. I’m a big one for chatting to people online though, I just find it easier to talk to people this way then face to face. I think the whole barrier of a screen and having that level of protection is the course of it. That said though and to actually get on with my post title, I meet up with a guy today I meet on the dating website.

This is the 3rd guy I’ve met and I was the first person he’d meet up with from the online world. I think that really only people who have actually done this will fully understand what I’m about to go on about. It is a proven fact that some people you meet online can’t actually be that person, but are someone else. Photos and profiles are so easy to make up and people have got good at ‘pretending’ and ‘playing the field.’ So actually getting to build trust online is a difficult thing. How can you be sure that the person you are talking to is actually who they say there are? I’ve no answer to that, but here’s how I do it.

When guys message me, I only message back the ones I actually talk to and then for me the chatting as to go for two months plus. This gives me time to gain lots of info about the person I’m talking too and I learn about their moods too by their use of language. often by this time the chat is moved places to MSN and we’ve added each other on FB. I very rarely give my number out unless I decided to arrange a meet up. Public places are the best and actually arranging what you are going to do together is also useful.

So, I guess you want to hear about my date now? It went really well I think, I was able to connect with the guy and we had some good conversations. We went to the Manchester Art Gallery and I so want to go back there again and look more closely at some of the paintings. We had lunch and Starbucks too. I am still sticking by my rule though friends first, because it just makes it easier and for me there’s less stress involved and less of the seeking to be perfect. Being yourself is highly important and I know that first impressions do affect people’s’ choices. Will I see him again? I hope so.

Image Detail(Manchester Art Gallery)

It’s Halloween!!!!!

Hey everyone, It’s Halloween! 🙂 and this is my choice of pumpkin design this year. ‘The Headless Horseman Rides Again!’ 🙂 pretty awesome, hey? I love Halloween its my fav day. I know there are many reasons behind this and it links to the traditions and history of the actually event and day. To go and look them up in books or the internet though gives mix results. So to link with my love for Halloween, I thought I’d write this post about what it means to me and include some of the stuff I know.

On Halloween night at Midnight it’s believed that the veils between this world and the spirit world reach there thinnest. This means that lots of spirits can pass between the two different plains some good and bad. So ghost activity is said to be at its highest during this time. So the traditions of pumpkins? In Britain it use to be other squash vegetables and then pumpkins came over from the USA and they were easier to carve. The idea behind carving and making a scare face is actually to ward off the bad spirits from entering your house. You place the pumpkin outside or in a front window in order to do this. The pumpkin is then light up by a candle and it is this light that attracts family and friends who have passed on back to visit you. Of course now a days, people don’t just carve scary faces, the idea of carving different things has taken off in a big way specially in the States, where they do go all out for Halloween, much more then we do in Britain! Though you still find that many pumpkins get carved with subjects that link to Halloween.

This is the second pumpkin I carved – Grim Fright Night It’s a grim reaper in a graveyard. Oh, it’s midnight! Let’s see if anything creepy happens! So why is a carved pumpkin called a Jack O’ Lantern? This cames from an Irish legend about a man called Jack, who couldn’t get into Heaven or Hell, so instead he had to walk around with just a lantern till judgment day arrives.

Okay, next is the dressing up part, people started to believe that by wearing masks and dressing up they could pertained to be spirit whilst going about their business at night, thus no harm would come to them. The idea of Trick or Treating came about because of another event which was celebrate close to Halloween and that was Souling. Where people went around asking for soul cakes and in return they would pray for the departed relatives. This is also connected with Mischief Night, which has kinda merged with Halloween now. Boys would go out and cause Mischief, but they would also knock on door and ask for treats in order to behave, so that’s where the whole Trick Or Treat thing has come from possibly.

Me and my 3 best friends dressed up.

One of the games that is traditional played is Apple Bobbing. Apples are placed into a large bowl filled with water and just using your teeth you have to grab an apple. It is said that this came about because of the Roman tradition of celebrating one of their Gods who was connected to apples about this time. In fact it seems lots of religions and countries celebrated simlaire events about the same time, most of these had to do with remembering the dead like the Roman Catholic All Saints’ Day and All Souls day, (Which got the name of All Hallow’s Eve which then become Hallow’een) Mexico and their Day Of The Dead. There has also been links to Celt and Pagan festivals. So yeah, Halloween has no clear beginnings.

So that’s something of a history then. 🙂 I always stay up past midnight on Halloween, just because its something I have always been drawn to do. It’s like I’m waiting to see if any ghost come for a visit. Nothing has happened so far, though I got sticky stuff on my keyboard thanks to a midnight snack attack! Anyways that’s all for tonight and I’ll be back tomorrow.